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North Carolinians Society 

no. 29 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

My hope Affair with Carolina 



Together with Tributes to Doris Betts by Elizabeth Evans, 

Eewellyn Betts, and Max Steele on the Occasion of Her 

Acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1998 


H. G.Jones, General Editor 

No. 1 . An Evening at Montkello: An Essay in Reflection (1 978) 
by Edwin M. Gill 

No. 2. The Paul Green I Know (1978) 
by Elizabeth Lay Green 

No. 3. The Albert Coates I Know (1 979) 
by Gladys Hall Coates 

No. 4. The Sam Ennn 1 Know (1980) 
by Jean Conyers Ervin 

No. 5. Sam Ragan (\98\) 
by Neil Morgan 

No. 6. Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina (1982) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 7. Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1982) 
by Sam Ragan 

No. 8. John Fries Blair (1983) 
by Margaret Blair McCuiston 

No. 9. William Clyde Friday and Ida Howell Friday (1 984) 
by Georgia Carroll Kyser and William Brantiey Aycock 

No. 10. William S. Powell, Historian (1985) 
by David Stick and William C. Friday 

No. 11. "Gallantry Unsurpassed" (1985) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 12. Mary and Jim Semans, North Carolinians (1986) 
by W. Kenneth Goodson 

No. 13. The High Water Mark (1986) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 14. Raleigh andQuinn: The Explorer and His Boswell (1987) 
edited by H. G.Jones 

[continued on inside back cover] 

My Love Affair with Carolina 



Doris Waugh Betts 

Together with Tributes to Dons Betts by Elizabeth Evans, 

Lwellyn Betts, and Max Steele on the Occasion of Her 
Acceptance oj the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1998 


Chapel Hill 27514-8890 

North Carounlina Society Inc. 
and North Carolina Collection 




H. G. Jones, General Editor 


This edition is limited to 

five hundred signed copies 

of which this is number 

4o j 

Copyright © 1998 by 

North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 

UNC Campus Box 3930 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-8890 

All rights reserved 

Manufactured in the United States of America 


N8 - 


My Love Affair with Carolina, by Doris Waugh Betts 

Opening Remarks and Introductions, by H. G. Jones 
A Lucky Friendship, by Elizabeth; Evans 
My Mother, Doris Betts, by Lewellyn Betts 
A Litany for Doris Betts, by Max Steele 

A Special Announcement, by Michael Hooker and Ben M. Jones III 
Presentation of the Award, by Willis P. Whichard 
Acceptance of the Award, by Doris Waugh Betts 
Photographs of the Occasion, by Fred N. Stipe and J err)' W. Gotten 
Chronology, compiled by Elizabeth Evans 
Selected Bibliography, compiled by Elizabeth Evans 


Cover Photo by Diedra Laird, © 1994 The Charlotte Observer 



My Love Affair with Carolina 


Doris Waugh Be Us 

Delivered in Wilson L ibrary, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 
Prior to the Awards Ceremony on 12 June 1998 


(Photo by Diedra Laird, © 1994 The Charlotte Observer) 


My hove Affair with Carolina 

Doris Betts 1 

This North Carokniana Society occasion occurs one week after my birthday 
and three weeks before I begin what the University calls "phased retirement," so 
you'll forgive me for looking back on my long love affair with Carolina — now that 
I've reached the age where, people say, the only thing you can sink your teeth into 
is a glass. 

Actually I have lots more to bite off and chew, and I'm not as old as I hope 
to be. They say that the trouble with retirement is that it ruins your Saturdays. At 
one retirement dinner the emcee said sweedy, "Now you're going to watch the 
sunsets," and the retiree snapped back, "Yes, if I can stay up that late." 

But as we read this society's membership list, the guest list, the names of 
previous honorees, it's clear that this University has awakened, and kept awake, the 
minds of a great many public servants in this state and nation. 

Thomas Wolfe called Carolina "the unforgettable place buried in a pastoral 
wilderness." Chapel Hill is not so pastoral anymore; some of the wildlife belongs 
to fraternities. I've told my English Department chairman that when I retire 
there'll be fifty people standing outside my Greenlaw office with tears in their 
eyes — waiting to ask for my parking space. In today's traffic, it's hard to remember 
that two hundred years ago the first UNC student, Hinton James, walked to 

'Society President Willis P. Whichard introduced Dons Betts this way: "Will Willimon, Dean of 
the Chapel at a nearby small, new, twentieth-century school, tells of a conversation with a student 
in which the student indicated that he was taking Terry Sanford's course on creativity in state 
government. The always curious Willimon asked, Well, what's the course about? What's the 
subject matter?' 'Oh, I don't know,' replied the student, 'I'm studying him.' Dons Betts's students, 
too, may enroll in her courses to study her. If so, they have a worthy subject. This audience would 
be well advised to resist that temptation, however. We are going to study Dons in some depth later 
this evening. We should now hear what this extraordinary teacher and wnter has to say to us. 
Dons, we eagerly await your remarks." 


campus all the way from Wilmington; but what a pleasure it was in May when 
Chancellor Hooker recognized his great-great-great-grandson, Theodore Steger. 
Freshmen now live in a dorm that bears the name of the first young man who 
walked here to have his life changed. 

In Chapel Hill, change is always overlaid on history and tradition. If you 
arrived in Chapel Hill today over US 15-501 crossing Morgan Creek (named for 
early settler Mark Morgan), and if you passed Finley Golf Course, vou were driving 
by the site of Mr. Morgan's first residence. Morgan and his wife and all their 
children spent the winter of 1 747 inside a giant hollow sycamore log that was over 
12 feet in diameter — more crowded than having two roommates and a loft in one 
our dorms today. 


They say that life is like a camel — it won't back up; but I'd like to back up 
my time and the University's parallel time today. The bell tower was built the year 
before I was born; you may recall that Gertrude Stein wrote about the young 
boxwoods she saw planted about it. Graham Memorial with its beautiful oak- 
paneled walls is as old as I am — and will soon be restored to the beauty we 
remember as a center for the honors program. 

It's hard for us in 1998 to recapture all that this University at Chapel Hill 
symbolized to Tar Heel citizens during my childhood. The thirties were such hard 
economic times that parents and students didn't think of choosing a college 
because Choo-Choo Justice or Lennie Rosenbluth or Charlie Scott were in 
residence. My hard-working parents wanted to give me a better life — a richer life 
both in income and insight. No one in my family had ever gone to college. North 
Carolina did not have twelve grades in our public schools in my parents' youth, so 
my father — a textile mill worker — was half puzzled but nine-tenths awed by any 
adults who could find the time to keep reading books on into their twenties and 
thirties. "In Chapel Hill," he would say, "there are people who read the same book 
two or three times." 

But Tar Heels on assembly lines and in cotton and tobacco fields felt not 
only the same awe that he felt; theirs shaded into an unease, an active nervousness 
about Chapel Hill where children might outgrow their raising, where too much 
book learning might snuff out common sense. I believe Bill Friday's family didn't 
send him here as an undergraduate because they thought the school excessively 
liberal. My father's closest friend had graduated here, and people in Statesville 
whispered that Summers Caldwell — and he wasn't the only one! — had gone off to 
Chapel Hill and learned to be an atheist. I used that theme, that fear of intellectual 


freedom, in an early short story of mine, called "All That Glisters Isn't Gold." 

Once my dad came here with his friend on a weekend to visit the campus. 
He never got over it. A university wasn't like a cotton mill at all, he said; you 
couldn't see what product it was turning out; unlike the weaving of cloth from 
thread, you wouldn't know for sure if a mind had been uplifted and nourished for 
maybe thirty more years. v\nd you couldn't tell what obstreperous human beings 
might do with whatever they had learned. As far as he could tell, both Albert 
Schweitzer and Adolph Hitier had been smart and read books. 

During that weekend, he stared at these Carolina boys passing on Polk 
Place — for all the students then were male. Probably that day in the mid-thirties 
he may have brushed elbows with Walker Percy, Shelby Foote, Vermont Royster, 
and so on, without a clue to what those boys were thinking and what they would 
do with their thoughts. 

While in Chapel Hill, Dad bought a little wooden souvenir box of 
photographic cards of campus buildings, and at night he would deal these out on 
the kitchen oilcloth, like flash cards, so I could name each one: Old East. Manning 
Hall. Spencer Dorm. Playmakers Theater. We had no picture yet of the Institute 
of Government; I was seven when it was dedicated; and who could have imagined 
there would ever be a Dean Dome? 

What I've learned since is that ever) 7 older building on this campus might 
as well be made of glass — they're all transparent. 

Inside Hill Hall is the ghost of the library it used to be. We can see through 
the walls of Swain Hall to its former cafeteria that students renamed Swine Hole. 
Whenever I pass the old Playmakers Theater I remember that during the Civil War 
General Sherman stabled the horses of the Michigan 9 th Cavalry there — which led 
to the saying that, ever since, Michigan horses have been known for their 
intelligence and Carolina students for their horse sense. Or that the undergrad 
admissions office — now Blyden and Roberta Jackson Hall — used to be the 
Monogram Club with its carved wooden circus figures that later were exhibited in 
the Carolina Inn and now have been transplanted to the Hill Alumni Center. 

I learned even 7 card in Dad's wooden box. I wanted to go inside ever}' 
building. I wanted to have a Pulpit Hill experience like Thomas Wolfe's, to meet 
Walter Spearman and Frank Graham and Howard Odum, to have Phillips Russell 
teach me how to write books. In fact, I burned to come here — Christopher Morley 
once wrote: "I used to burn, but now I smoulder/that's how I learn I'm growing 

In those burning days, before Carolina was overwhelmed with admissions, 
Roy Armstrong used to visit high schools and recruit students, so his appearance 
in Statesville made me burn even hotter. And after 1940, girls could become 
undergraduates, and what if they had to be local residents? That was all right. I 
would move . I would sit in the new Forest Theater while Prof Koch taught 
Sophocles. Chancellor House would play his harmonica for me. I would see for 
myself the thrillingly dangerous communist Milton Abernethy just in time before 


he left Chapel Hill to become a stockbroker. 

In the late forties, while Kay Kyser was barnstorming the state to promote 
the need for UNC's medical school, the journalism faculty brought me and 
hundreds of other high school newspaper editors to campus for a summer institute. 
I went into even' building that was not locked. You could walk in the front door 
of South Building and straight out the back without anybody asking what you 
wanted, and then you could rush through again. The Old Well water had a special 
taste. I climbed to the domed reference room in Wilson Library and just sat there, 
waiting for knowledge to seep into me by osmosis. 

But my family couldn't afford to relocate in Chapel Hill even if I burned 
up, and with the help of an escheats scholarship and my mother's savings, I entered 
Woman's College the year Uncle Mot's planetarium opened here while Charlie 
Justice was still whizzing down-field in his #22 jersey. I did not really reach UNC 
until well after the big influx of veterans, not until 1954, when my husband entered 
law school and I — hugely pregnant — was understandably excused from P.E. and 
still allowed to take classes with Rupert Vance and Hugh Holman. A few years 
earlier, the first African-American students had been admitted. We arrived in time 
for Hurricane Hazel to shoot a tree limb through our pasteboard house in Victory 
Village — $35 a month, with furniture; but it must have been a good address since 
at various times that neighborhood was home to Bill and Ida Friday, Bill and Grace 
Aycock, Tern and Margaret Rose Sanford. 

Last month I met with the reunion class of 1958 — and discovered that 
many of my contemporaries had gotten so gray, wrinkled, bald, and fat that they 
didn't recognize me. We reminisced about those good old days when the air was 
clean and sex was dirty, when there was still diagonal parking on Franklin Street; 
we recalled parties at Hogan's lake, Danziger's. We were here when Channel 4 
went on the air, when Mr. Friday became president. I worked for the Chapel Hill 
Weekly 1 and, on Sundays, Louis and Mim Graves would have Lowry and me over 
for bourbon during church hour; we, being married, could have a drink, but 
undergraduate Charles Dunn was never served a thing stronger than Coca-Cola. 

For eight years after graduation, Lowry practiced law and our family lived 
thirty-five miles south, off-campus in Sanford, and I wrote and published some 
fiction. When Jessie Rehder and Max Steele gave me the chance in 1966 to teach 
here part-time, I outran Br'er Rabbit into the briar patch. 

Now I've taught here longer than Skipper Coffin did. I've probably 
become one of those self-willed professors Gordon Gray once complained about. 
A dry, somewhat unacademic man, Gray said that being Secretary of the Army and 
President of the University were similar: the main difference was that the faculty 
had no individuals below the rank of general. 

By now you're wondering why I'm digging up so much of the past. You 
must feel a bit like a child who was helping Grandpa dig potatoes, and who finally 
asked wearily, "Grandpa, what made you bury these things anyway?" 

But I'm not the only one who'd like to unearth Carolina's tradition, so we 


can extend it and exceed it. Recendy our own undergraduates, led by senior class 
president Franklin Golden of Charlotte, have spearheaded an actual university 
course in the history of this place. Today's students may have seen "The Lost 
Colony," but they've forgotten it goes back to Paul Green in 1937. When they 
climb over these rock walls, they'd actually like to remember that these go back to 
the time of Elisha Mitchell, that during the Speaker Ban Law a real, live communist 
spoke across the rocks into McCorkle Place, and that none of these walls have ever 
turned into that fence a certain senator said should be built around the UNC insane 
asylum! And although couples strolling through the arboretum may not care right 
then to remember that W. C. Coker started it at the turn of the century, they are 
this year seeing the wisteria trellis reconstructed, under which someday their future 
children may also walk hand-in-hand. 

What I wish for today's students and their future children is that they, too, 
may fall in love with this university — a love serious enough to support and enlarge 
it, a love deep enough to survive the predictable lovers' quarrels. Because 
sometimes the Tar Heel public does quarrel with its university, and today there are 
fifteen others in the system, plus numerous private and community colleges from 
Kitty Hawk to Bat Cave. Sometimes our state catches anti-intellectualism like a flu 
epidemic; books get published like Blood on the Old Well; some professor will be said, 
like Socrates, to corrupt the young. There will be springtimes like 1 974 when nine 
hundred students went streaking naked on Franklin Street, winters when party- boys 
stole Christmas decorations, or even a dark season when one schizophrenic student 
shot the innocent on a Chapel Hill street. We'll protest Vietnam, promote civil 
rights, maybe Carolina will even do something seriously unpopular — like canceling 
the Dixie Classic as Bill Aycock did. The barber shops and editorial pages will have 
a lot to say about twenty-four-hour visitation, or marijuana, or the Black Cultural 
Center. If it's not HEW telling the university what to do, it'll be the DAR, the 
UDC, the KKK, or the NRA. 

But the real product of the university, that invisible outcome that so 
amazed my father when he could see neither assembly line nor final result, will 
persist. Alice Palmer defined it best when she was president of Wellesley; she said, 
"It is people that count — you put yourself in people, they touch other people; 
these, others still, and so you go on working forever." 

Her words not only convey my goal of three decades of teaching at 
Carolina, but they pull together my own twin careers of teaching and writing while 
being nurtured in this very special place. On the page and in the story, as well as 
in the classroom, "it is people that count." 

By touching the lives of thousands, who then have affected other lives, the 
university has done its work for over two hundred years, and I've been one of its 
fortunate workers for the past thirty-two. May the results of all these semesters, of 
all these classes and dissertations and research and exams, add up to that invisible, 
amazing product my father sensed in the 1930s, and may it go on working. 




Tributes to Doris Betts 

Including Proceedings of a banquet on the Occasion of Her 

Acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society for 1998 

Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, 12 June 1998 


Opening Remarks and Introductions 

H. G. Jones 

Twenty years ago, just up the hall in what was then the UNC Ballroom, 
Paul Green accepted the first North Caroliniana Society Award. Now, that was 
before the advent of the ubiquitous feel-good awards so common today, and the 
17 th of March was still nominally St. Patrick's Day. But in 1978 we proclaimed it 
St. Paul's Day, the playwright's 84 th birthday. That was a magical evening, as many 
in this audience remember. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of the award, we 
will share another magical evening, for our 1998 recipient's career and contribu- 
tions bear a remarkable resemblance to those of Paul Green in so many ways. 
Perhaps the most identifiable difference is suggested in a headline on an Associated 
Press story in 1992: "[Dons] Betts saw only male writers but decided to write 
anyway." Dons Betts needed no organization to help liberate her; she has always 
done things her own way, and we all are richer because of her originality' of 
thought, word, deed, and action. 

As we prepare for dinner, mav I recognize those at the head table. Will 
each stand and remain standing, and will the audience withhold applause until all 
have been presented. From my left, President Whichard's wife Leona, Lewellyn 
Betts's husband Tom Mroz, long-time friend Liz Evans; and from my right, 
daughter Lewellyn Betts, President Willis Whichard; and now will you welcome 
Judge Lowry Betts and Dons Betts. [Applause.] Son Erskine and his family are in 
Texas on a long-planned vacation, and son David had an emergency assignment 
in Raleigh but hopes to join us before the evening is over. 

On your program you will find a list of previous recipients of the North 
Caroliniana Society Award, and I want to ask each of those present to stand and 
remain standing until all have been presented (and again, please withhold your 
applause until all have been presented). I am going to ask the widows and spouses 
to stand also as their names are called, for none of our recipients earned the award 
alone. First is Albert Coates's Gladys. I should remind you that Gladys passed 
another birthday recently, and now we have only four years to await 19 May 2002, 
when there'll be the biggest party Chapel Hill has ever known. Then in chronolog- 


ical order, Bill and Ida Friday, Bill Powell and Virginia, Burke Davis and Judy, 
Lawrence London and Dewey, Frank Kenan's Betty, Archie Davis's Mary Louise, 
Lyle Sitterson's Nancy, and John Sanders and Ann. [Applause.] Mary and Jim 
Semans had planned to be here until one member of that large family suddenly 
decided to get married, so they sent flowers and regrets; and Bill Cochrane had an 
unpleasant appointment today at the Naval Flospital in Washington. 

Not so coincidentally, at this very moment tens of thousands of fellow 
North Carolinians are watching Dons Betts: You see, this afternoon Bill Friday 
interviewed her for his North Carolina People program on Public Television, and 
so by the magic of video, other Tar Heels are also enjoying her wit and wisdom 
while you enjoy her physical presence. 

Please enjoy your dinner and table mates. 

[Following Dinner:] 

During these last twenty years, we have tned to maintain the tone and spirit 
that pervaded that magical evening with Paul Green when, to his absolute shock, 
Elizabeth Green rose as the surprise speaker. Most of you have read that touching 
essay, "The Paul Green I Know." Because the North Caroliniana Society seeks not 
publicity but quiet recognition for those who serve our state, we have never sought 
big-name speakers, preferring instead to allow our recipients to spend an evening 
with family and friends, the people who know them in all of their humanity. And 
so it will be tonight. As usual, we will in die fall publish in our Imprints series both 
Doris's marvelous afternoon address and the entire proceedings of the evening, and 
you will receive a copy. Incidentally, Neil Fulghum has installed a small exhibit on 
Dons in the North Carolina Collection Reading Room in Wilson Library. Drop 
by to see it. 

The only reason that it has taken us two decades to recognize Doris is 
because each year other organizations were honoring her, and we didn't want to 
appear to be copying their idea. Finally this year the Board of Directors realized 
that the time will never come when Dons is overlooked by others, and so here we 
are tonight. It is not just the literary Dons Betts that we so admire and appreciate; 
it is the whole woman who brightens our spirits each time we see her — indeed, 
each time her name is mentioned. 

— One who knew hard work from childhood, who helped put her husband 
through law school, who reported for newspapers and did menial jobs while 
keeping house and raising a family and honing her writing skills, and who still 
lovingly cares for her eighty-six-year-old mother; 

— Whose commitment to the fledgling North Carolina Writers Conference 
more than forty years ago led her to climb aboard a garbage truck in a frantic (and, 
happily, successful) effort to retrieve the checks, cash, and mailing list that an all- 
too-efficient janitor at Glen Lennox had assumed to be trash; 

— Who lets academic fads and pressure for conformity roll off her back like 


rain on a duck; 

— Who, when told that it might offend certain students to have their 
grammar corrected, said "There is an English language and I believe every North 
Carolinian ought to be taught to read, write, and speak it"; 

— Who paid no attention to professsors who criticized her appearance on 
the platform with an evangelist, the most famous North Carolinian of our era; 

— Who, grieving when not UNC but a sister institution launched the 
splendid North Carolina Uterary Review, atoned for the local neglect by organizing the 
Second Sunday Readings series, funded by the North Caroliniana Society, that 
continues to bring scores of outstanding North Carolina authors to this campus to 
be seen and heard not only by the Creative Writing classes but by us, the general 
public. (That was a rather novel idea back then; now just look at the schedule of 
readings in the local newspapers.) 

— Who instinctively responded with a stinging rebuke to a local newspaper 
that unjustifiably criticized her judicial husband; 

— Who, as the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Faculty, toned 
down the rhetoric that had previously lost friends and influenced the wrong people 
in the General Assembly, thus helping restore the credibility of the University in 
the eyes of its owners, the taxpayers; 

— Who devotes more time than anyone from this campus off the campus 
speaking before any group, large or small, and considers it not an imposition but 
an obligation of a public servant. (I don't have her schedule for this week, but I 
read in the paper that on Tuesday at 2:00 she spoke at Carolina Meadows and at 
7:30 that evening was holding forth at a Raleigh bookstore; and tomght she must 
go home and prepare to serve as master of ceremonies tomorrow at "A Fancy for 
Literature" at White Cross, then rush to Asheville for a reading Sunday afternoon.) 

How does she do it all? 

There is no way for us to encapsulate Doris Betts tonight, or, for that 
matter, ever. However, three people who know her well will at least give us 
glimpses into the life of this remarkable colleague. 

Professor Elizabeth Evans, a native of State sville, received her doctorate 
in English from UNC-CH and for twenty-six years taught in the Department of 
English at Georgia Tech, retiring as department head in 1990. She now lives in 
Jackson County, North Carolina, still teaching from time to time at Western 
Carolina University while continuing her writing on literary figures. Her 
publications have included biographical studies of Ring Lardner, Thomas Wolfe, 
Eudora Welty, and Anne Tyler. Her latest book in the Twayne U.S. Authors series 
is titled simply Doris Betts. It contains, in Doris's words, "more facts about me than 
I care to remember." Run to the Intimate or the Bullshead tomorrow to get your 
copy. A friend of Dons Betts's since childhood, and her literary colleague over the 
years, Liz Evans. 

[Elizabeth Evans's address begins on page 19.] 


For reasons that will become obvious, we are switching the order of the 
next two speakers. 

I got to know Lewellyn Betts over a "Single Gambler" at the Rathskeller, 
and each rime I tried to turn the conversation to her, she would turn it into another 
direction. I told her if she didn't give me a little more autobiographical information 
I was going to spread the tale that Dons and Lowry found her out in the horse pen 
one morning. She responded that when she was born, her parents couldn't afford 
a cow, much less a horse. A last-minute e-mail evoked from her this lengthy 
autobiography: "I am no writer. I have at various times in mv life worked in 
theater, video, and artificial intelligence. ... I am currently the Project Manager of 
a 22.5 million dollar research project at the Carolina Population Center and am a 
hobby potter." With $22.5 million dollars to spend and characteristics as diverse 
as artificial intelligence and potting, Lewellyn should be an ideal character for one 
of her mother's future novels. Lowry and Doris's only daughter, Lewellyn. 

[Lewellyn Betts's address begins on page 23] 

When we discussed possible speakers, Dons wanted one special fnend to 
participate. She said, however, that while he was a great teacher, he refused to 
speak in public. She added, "He might do it if you ask him and not I," and the 
challenge was on. No, he responded, he had made only one speech in his life and 
that was a disaster. Both Doris and I knew that nothing he had ever done was a 
disaster, and, thanks to the effrontery of e-mail, I kept up the pressure even after 
he confided that, to have a proper excuse for not being here tonight, he was 
planning a trip to Toronto or London or somewhere this very day. More e-mails 
begged him to reconsider — even if only in the form of a letter that we might read 
on this occasion. That did the trick, and tonight we have a surprise for Doris, a 
portion of which she will hear read aloud by another great fnend and admirer. 
President Bill Friday, will you come forward and read Dons's mail? 

[President Friday read Max Steele's literary valentine, which beings on page 27.] 


A. Eucky Friendship 

Elizabeth Evans 

Dons Betts's contributions to the literary and cultural life of North Carolina 
are legion. One endeavor in particular has touched the lives of many people who 
are not directiy associated with the University because Dons has been the guest 
speaker at public libraries from Murphy to Manteo. 

Not long after Souls Raised from the Dead was published, Doris was scheduled 
to speak at Western Carolina University, an invitation that quickly spawned an 
additional request: would she also speak at our Jackson County Public Library. 
Ever generous, Dons agreed. A slight problem emerged because the library talk 
was decided upon after our weekly newspaper had appeared on Thursday, so 
getting out publicity was hampered. I suggested to Kay Byer — our resident poet 
who was in charge — that given the subject matter of Souls Raised from the Dead, 
surely many people in our local church congregations would be interested in 
coming. Kay agreed and we divided up the churches and headed .for the telephone. 

My list began with a Presbyterian church whose minister answered when 
I made the call. I identified myself, gave him the pertinent information, and 
emphasized the interest people in his congregation would have, particularly in the 
spiritual aspects of Betts's novel entitled Souls Raised from the Dead. 

There was a slight pause, and then he asked, "Which side is she on?" 

"Oh," I said, "she's all for it." 

I can't remember when I didn't know Dons Betts, and many memories 
revolve around our home terntory of Iredell County and Statesville where we and 
our people were, as we say in the South, born and raised. We grew up on the cusp 
of the Great Depression which touched our parents' lives sufficiendv and made us 
war)' of too high living and any waste. We both knew enough about the farm to 
raise our eyebrows years later when a Washington Post article referred to eggs that 
were fresh because they "had just been hatched." 

Our elementary school years were punctuated with ever-present reminders 


of World War II ration books, victory gardens, and U.S. Savings Bond Drives. 
There were small flags in the windows of many houses and too often a gold star 
replaced the living blue one. In this undercurrent of anxiety, movies like Mrs. 
Miniver starring Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon gave us hope that if we were just 
strong enough for long enough, Dunkirk and the whole war would, one day, be 

When Doris graduated from Statesville Senior High School she was named 
by her prophetic classmates as the "Most Talented" member of that class; four 
years later she would publish The Gentle Insurrection and Other Stories which won the 
UNC-Putnam Booklength Manuscript Prize. Our home territory has supplied 
some detail in Doris's fiction. The Catawba River that winds through Iredell 
County becomes die Katsewa River that winds its way through her first novel, Tall 
Houses in Winter, and her third, The River to Pickle Beach. Two houses on Front Street 
in Statesville, houses with many rooms and one with an intriguing fish pond, figure 
in an autobiographical story entitled "All That Glisters Isn't Gold." At the corner 
of South Meeting and Walnut streets in Statesville, an undistinguished municipal 
parking lot has replaced the corner's former occupant — the Wallace Brothers 
Herbarium, built in 1870, and at that time was reputed to be the largest herbarium 
in the world. By the 1940s that establishment had long passed its prime and the 
building — windows shattered and sides sagging — had graffiti on the sides just 
mysterious enough to intrigue two preadolescent girls in Doris's story "The Spies 
in the Herb House," a story in which, as Michael McFee has noted so well, Betts 
tells "the oldest, most profound story there is: the story of a fall from innocence 
to experience, of a passage from a small safe world into a large dangerous one." 

Statesville today has changed since Dons and I grew up there. Enterprising 
folk — many of them newcomers — have restored several downtown buildings to 
their original 1920s texture, and Walnut Street, always a beauty, is now even more 
so and the tall houses there — those in Tall Houses in Winter — are more elegant than 
ever. The town square is still there and the town clock still runs. But the familiar 
businesses of our early days — Purcell's Drug Store and Robinson's Barber 
Shop — are long gone, some replaced with the chain names that homogenize the 
American landscape. 

We shared, too, an upbringing in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian 
church — whose members are generally referred to as ARP's, or as Doris's mother 
prefers, "All Right People" — a denomination that was, in our day, sensibly 
conservative; today the denomination appears depressingly conservative. To recall 
some familiar names in that long ago congregation brings back countless Sunday 
sermons and church picnics and week-long revival meetings when we shared the 
pews or the choir loft with the Stikeleathers and the Ramseys, the Presslys and the 
Ivimmonses, the Axleys and the Deatons, the Wallaces and the Bradfords, the 
Robinsons and the Freezes, the Waughs and the Evanses. 

When we were growing up, our church did not sing hymns since dieir lyrics 
were composed bv mere men; we, instead, sang only from the Psalter whose lyrics, 


of course, came from King David himself. That black-backed Psalter put into our 
ears and into our imaginations wonderful images and ambiguities as stringy tenor 
and waverv soprano and hopeful bass voices sang that poetry Sunday after Sunday. 

I can still remember that #88 in the Psalter (a setting of Psalm 42) began 
with these two lines: 

"As pants the hart for water's brooks, 
So pants my soul, O Lord, for thee." 

I dare say that Dons from an early age discerned in these two lines the 
successful striking ol a simile, yoking the literal hartvrith the mysterious soul. And 
I'm sure she did not confuse the HART in the line with its homophone HEART, 
whereas I endured a stressful time worrying about the body's most vital organ as 
it struggled and struggled, gasping for the reprieve of water. I must have been at 
least ten years old before it dawned on me that the line — "As pants the hart for 
water's brooks" — was about a thirsty deer hunting a creek in the woods. It took 
longer for the theological point to sink in. 

But we sang these psalms — many of them set to exquisite melodies — twice 
on Sunday, on Wednesday night, and for a glorious week even- summer in the Blue 
Ridge mountains of North Carolina, where the denomination maintains its summer 
conference grounds — a place called BonClarken located on highway 25 just across 
the road from die Carl Sandburg house and farm. 

That early church experience over the years made its way into Doris's 
fiction where Biblical allusions do not merely reflect a commonly held tradition, 
but are instead portents of theological issues. These issues go deep in Betts's 
fiction and fortunate are her readers who readily know the New Testament 
parables, who recognize the Old Testament stories of kings and shepherds, who 
find the psalmist's lines as familiar as family names, who were raised ARP's. 

[I am always delighted when my computer spell-check highlights the 
singular possessive Betts's and asks — as if it too recogmzed the import of Doris's 
intent — if I didn't really mean to type baptises.] 

You here in Chapel Hill have a special claim since you have enjoyed Dons's 
presence as colleague for many years, witnessing her distinguished career as 
administrator, as teacher, as advisor, as member or chair of endless committees, as 
Chair of the Faculty, as lecturer on campus and across the nation. And all of you 
assembled here admire her many accomplishments, take pride in the honors that 
she has brought to the University and to the State. 

Her hometown shares this pnde — and so do I. I remember exactly where 
I was in 1954 when I bought a copy of The Gentle Insurrection and Other Stones. I 
remember one summer's day in 1965 walking down Franklin Street reading a just- 
published copy of The Astronomer and Other Stories and magically crossing even,' side 
street without taking my eyes off the page. I remember when the Southern 
Humanities Conference met in 1977 at Wake Forest, Doris read her brilliant story 
"This Is die Only Time I'll Tell It," a reading that so moved the audience that the 
moderator briefly adjourned die session so that people could collect themselves. 


I remember vividly even' piece of fiction Dons has ever published because 
her fiction does what Planner)' O'Connor said good fiction should do: It hangs on 
in the mind and keeps on meaning. 

In the 1997 off-Broadway musical "Violet" — based on Doris's story "The 
Ugliest Pilgrim — the show-stopper, a wonderful and rousing song about the game 
of poker and life, is called "The Puck of the Draw." My pleasure in Doris's 
friendship and my pleasure in reading and writing about her fiction have been for 
me a genuine "luck of the draw." 


My Mother, Doris Betts 

l^ewellyn Betts 

As the children of Doris Betts, my brothers, David and Erskine, and I, have 
for all of our conscious lives been responding to what we call "that question." And 
by that I mean that sooner or later nearly everyone that we meet gets around to 
asking, very casually, of course, "So, tell me, are you by any chance related to Dons 
Betts?" And then after we say "Yes," they follow up with, "What's it like to be the 
child of a writer?" All of our lives we've been asked this two-part question. From 
our grade school teachers to college professors, parents of childhood friends, 
neighbors, cashiers in grocery stores whose names I do not know — everyone is 
curious. "What's it like to be the child of a writer?" 

One might think that at least one result of this regular display of curiosity 
would be that I would be well-prepared to deliver this speech this evening, even 
eager to deliver it so that we could finally put the matter to rest. After all, there are 
more than 200 people here tonight, so it is certainly a perfect opportunity to 
provide the definitive answer. But, when the so very persuasive H. G. Jones 
contacted me, I was, in fact, not ready at all. For one thing I am not an experi- 
enced public speaker and I am certainly no writer. And, more the point, it is a fact 
that I have dodged the question every single time it has been posed to me. I have 
usually given some off-hand, flippant response and let it go at that. And while I 
certainly cannot answer that question in a substantive way tomght, I can and will 
share a few memories and thoughts in the hope that maybe this will give you at 
least some sense of what it was like. 

To start off, one thing that I can tell you is that we Betts kids have always 
known that we were very, very lucky; when we were growing up, we were always 
aware that we had a special thing going with this particular mother. And 
furthermore, the complete and God's-honest truth is that it really did seem to us 
that our family life was somehow more exotic and interesting than the lives of 
those poor and unfortunate families around us who did not have a writer among 


them. As adults, we now know, of course, that the fullness of our lives was 
because of the person that she was, and is, and not due to her profession. And she 
is, of course, still quite exotic. 

Dons Betts's great-great-grandmother was a black-haired little Irish girl 
who was abandoned at eighteen months of age during one of Ireland's potato 
famines. With only a note in her clothing identifying her as being named Maty 
Katherine Morrow, she was left on board a ship carrying passengers that were 
emigrating to the United States. A shipboard familv named McMurray adopted 
her, and eventually they settled in Iredell County, North Carolina, a Scotch-Irish 
farming community. A century and a half later, Maty Katherine's great-great- 
granddaughter, Dons Waugh, was born. 

Flash forward twenty-one years, and I was born. My own earliest sense of 
my mother is surprisingly consistent with the picture that I have of her today: a 
lively and free-spinted ponv-tailed presence. I have always thought of her as being 
fearless and ready for anything. She is a risk-taker in word and in action. She is 
one of those writers driven to directly experience events and not just live them 
vicariously. She certainly had a zeal for adventure and learning that I never 
obsen r ed in other Sanford moms. In addition to being a writer, teacher, wife, and 
mother to three children, some of the "secondary" pursuits of her life have 
included newspaper woman, school board member, stone career, quilter, weaver, 
rose enthusiast, bird-watcher, calligrapher, beekeeper, and horsewoman. She did 
not know how to drive a car until she was twenty-eight years old. Two years later 
she was zooming around on a red Honda motorcycle. The other Sanford moms 
would drive by in their Buicks with their mouths hanging open. 

My mother loves to travel, although she nearly died in one of her 
adventures when the twin-engine plane in which she was a passenger encountered 
a turbulent snowstorm over the Alaskan wilderness and nearly crashed into a 
mountainside. She was delighted, even invigorated to expenence this peril. It was 
a grand experience, she said, not to be missed. 

Dons Betts has never learned to swim and to this day she remains terrified 
of deep water. And yet in spite of this, when she was forty years old she and my 
dad took a daring two-week raft tnp down the rapids of the Colorado River. Had 
she fallen overboard, she could not have saved herself. But for her, the expenence 
of the crashing water and the view of the canyon wildlife from a bouncing raft in 
the middle of the nver was well worth the nsk of drowning. The next year, she and 
my father and brothers went back to the Grand Canyon on a hiking tnp. We 
nearly lost her again, this time when she got heatstroke and had to be airlifted out 
of the canyon by helicopter. And about that beekeeping that I mentioned earlier: 
She finally gave up that hobby after the second time she was rushed to the hospital 
in anaphylactic shock. It seems that she'd forgotten to mention to my father that 
she was allergic to bees. 

One of many happy consequences of being a child of a writer was that we 
never had plain ordinan' birds and trees in our back yard. Unlike the neighbors, 


our yard was always teeming with color and excitement. From earliest childhood, 
the naming of things has been our mother's grand pursuit. And she made sure that 
we, too, observed the yellow-crested Cedar Waxwings and white-breasted 
Nuthatches that were flying about. In our yard, we had Red Spider lilies, willow 
oak trees, and pesky Blue Jays. Instead of plain yellow flowers, we had King Alfred 
daffodils. In my mother's world, nothing in nature ever suffers the indignity of 
remaining unnamed. And I have to admit that in speaking out loud the names of 
some of the flora in our back yard, I get a feel for the wisdom in that determina- 
tion. Just saying their names gives them life in my mind. Mother also used her 
passion for language to have fun with her children, as well as to educate. When she 
read stories to us — which was several times a day — she acted out all of the 
characters and made her voice go all spooky during the scary parts. She still does 
this with her grandchildren. Other times, she would just plain make things up. 
And those were the best stories, of course. We lucky Betts kids were the only 
children in the entire neighborhood who had the full scoop on the castle where 
Tinkerbelle really lived and exacdy what the Toodi Fair) 7 did with those teeth when 
she had the day off. 

Her obsession with naming extends to pets. The names of the first two 
dogs of our childhood are a good example. When I was around three and a half 
years old, our family was living near the Glen Lennox Shopping Center here in 
Chapel Hill. Late one rainy night, some irresponsible person in a pickup truck 
tossed a sack full of puppies into the creek by our house. While David and I were 
sleeping, my dad went out and rescued the five drowning puppies from the raging 
creek. We were thrilled to wake up the next morning to find a kitchen full of 
puppies. We, of course, fell in love and wanted to keep them all. I also remember 
this particular morning as being the occasion of our very first Bible story. Using 
the circumstances of the puppy rescue as a starting point, our mother told us the 
tale of a courageous Israelite woman and how she saved her sons' lives by floating 
them down river in a reed basket made of bullrushes. In the end, David and I were 
allowed to keep two of the puppies. Naturally, Mother named them Aaron and 
Moses. Those symbolic names not only signaled the onset of our religious 
education and ensured that the memory of my first puppy would never die; these 
names also served to impart some small sense of dignity to a pair of otherwise very 
homely hound dogs. 

I suppose it goes without saying that each and even' room and hallway in 
our house had at least one set of bookshelves, often more, and that these shelves 
were always in overflow status. That habit continues to this day, in spite of the fact 
that she regularly moves books out by the trunk load, donating them to the local 
library or maybe a second-hand store. Tins life-long love affair with words and 
books and stories also has its quirky, eccentric side. For not only does she adore 
words; she is also quite passionate about the accessories to words, the accoutre- 
ments to language. I am talking about office supplies! Doris Betts goes crazy for 
office supplies; she's mad about them, and a fairly good-sized chunk of her salary 


goes towards feeding this hunger. Every single one of those overflowing 
bookshelves has a corner set aside for the latest rage in multicolored post-it notes, 
glitter pens, and calligraphy ink. And as you might imagine, she has a weakness for 
all writing implements, ink pens in particular, and she is quite reluctant to throw 
them away when they run dry. Usually she just sticks them back in the pencil jar; 
after all, they have served her well. 

I, for one, will be forever grateful for her imparting her love of reading to 
me. I know that Mother must have been the person who taught me to read, 
aldiough I have no memory of the learning experience. I have no idea how she did 
this, because to me reading is simply something I've always known how to do. I 
do remember being quite baffled by those first-grade "Dick and Jane" books — so 
bewildered, in fact, that I have this vague impression that the teacher might have 
implied to my mother that I had a reading disability of some kind. This was a 
matter of some concern, as you might imagine, since Mother knew that m fact I 
could read quite well. In an effort to find out what was wrong, she had me read 
out loud to her from one of the school readers, and from that reading, she quickly 
deduced the cause of die problem. As many of you may remember, in those days 
the editors of early textbooks substituted pictures for the "difficult" words in the 
text, and I simply didn't know how to read the pictures; I'd never been taught that. 
My teacher, my mother, had gone straight to words. Anyway, when Jane was 
supposed to throw a ball to Spot, I often guessed wrong, and had her pitch a ripe 
orange instead. Once Mother figured out what was wrong, the solution for this 
natural teacher was easy: She went through each and every one of my schoolbooks 
for the year and painstakingly hand-wrote the appropriate word underneath each 
of those pictures. I've been reading non-stop ever since. And she's always guided 
me wisely in my choices. Many afternoons, I'd come home from school and there 
would be a pile of new books on my bed. On weekends, while some families were 
watching football on television, ours would take field trips to the Intimate Book 
Shop in Chapel Hill or maybe to the Sanford Public Library, just to stock up on 
books. When that local public library decided to remove the entire Nancy Drew 
collection from its shelves because some higher-up deemed them too frivolous, 
Mother wrote a scathing letter to die editor of the local newspaper and got Nancy 
reinstated pronto. A year of so later, she saw to it that I read To Kill a Mockingbird 
at exacdy the right age and time in my life — I was the same age as Scout. Even 
now, whenever she comes to visit, Modier does not come empty-handed. She 
always brings a grocery bag stuffed with novels and magazines. 

My childhood memories of her are certainly not the conventional pictures 
of contented motherhood. For example, I do not have a single memory of Dons 
Betts wearing an apron. She was certainly no Harriet Nelson taking her cues from 
a Pillsbury commercial. I cannot call to mind one single image of her smiling and 
being perky in the kitchen as she baked chocolate cookies for the family. As a 
matter of fact the only low grade that Doris Betts ever received in her entire 
scholastic life was in the home economics class that she was required to take; she 


earned a "D" in that class at Statesville Senior High school. I know that it's okay 
for me to mention her poor showing in home ec tonight because she has always 
been rather proud of that "D" and extremely relieved that her talents lay elsewhere. 
And other than home ec, I hasten to add, she was a straight "A" student. 

Instead of in a kitchen, I will always see my mother hunched over a clunky 
black manual typewriter, her fingers flying across that keyboard, or maybe she is 
perched in a brown chair in our living room, with her legs curled up underneath. 
In either case, I see her surrounded by dog-eared spiral notebooks, pieces of scrap 
paper, and yellow legal pads, every single page full of stories and notes. If she is 
in the chair, one of those notebooks is on her lap and she has been writing 
longhand, her method of choice. She holds a blue fountain pen in her right hand, 
a lighted Kent cigarette in the other, and there are a backup pen and cigarette 
holder stuck behind her ears. The only movements in the room are the ashes 
dropping from her cigarette onto the floor. She's very still for a long while, 
frowning and staring off into some faraway place, trying to make a connection with 
the muse, I guess. 

There is so much more to be said, but I will end with one last comment. 
I am convinced that very few of us can honestly say that we have ended up in the 
profession best suited to our talents and spirit, or that we are living exactly the right 
lifestyle fitting our needs and habits. My mother is the rare exception. She could 
never have been anyone other than who she is, a writer and teacher. I have never 
met anyone else quite like her. She would probably insist that her particular spark 
is nothing special, but I have learned that the opposite is true. She is indeed 
unique, and yet I see flickers of her personality in every good person that I meet. 
Dons Betts is an original light, and a giver of light; her wisdom and humanity have 
transformed lives, beginning with those of my brothers and me. 


A. Utanyfor Doris Betts 

Max Steele 

Dear Dons: 

It all began so simply, our careers in 1966. Both of us brought to campus 
by that wonderful woman, Jessie Rehder, with her classical Peck and Peck bird-nest 
hat which she used upside-down as an ash tray. You as a part-time, one-time 
instructor. Me as a one-year Wnter-in-Residence. Then suddenly she is dead and 
all we have is a stack of student papers from her bedside, corrected and graded, her 
last duty done, with the note secured by a red rubber-band, that says in her blunt 
way: "I do not want to die." 

Once, after a bad quarrel with her beloved savior, Anne Sullivan Macy, 
Helen Keller left a note on her good mentor's desk: a note, a definition. "Teacher, 
and jet again, Teacher/ and that is all/ and it will be my answer when Death calls." 

So I take over the creative writing program with the promise from Carroll 
Hoiks that you will be hired full-time. What a boon for the University, aye, for the 
State that decision has been. Mainly for the hundreds, even thousands, who have 
sat in your classes. The oldest are now 55. More important, the youngest are 18. 
Which means that with average life spans they will be quoting you in the year 2060. 
No, you must not let that depress you. Half of them will, as on exams, quote the 
exact opposite of what you really said. So little Southern boys and girls will be 
erroneously hearing that short stories should begin with a character waking up and 
should end in suicide and that women characters should be in a room alone, 
remembering when. Or out clinging to run-away horses while nuns rush out to 
save them. Yes, you will be misquoted. But will people be reading anyway? At 
least they will have sat in your class. Or stood the first few days waiting for a lazy 
registered student to drop the class. 

We love those who help us grow: parents, coaches, teachers. 

Do not let them make an icon out of you. 

What will save us is not icons but teachers. You had your good mentors: 


Jessie Rehder, Hugh Holman, and Fanny Grey Patton. And I at UNC: H. K. 
Russell and Sam Selden. Lineage is important in a university. Continuity. 

Oprah Cummings, for instance, who guards the chairman's meager funds. 
When we wanted to mail a letter we have to go down the three flights of stairs in 
Murphy and over to Bingham to get a stamp from her. 

We begin then with three courses in fiction. One in poetry. And the years 
pass until we have fourteen courses a semester and eleven full- and part-time 
teachers. Now when you say "we" you include Daphne. Now when I say "we" I 
include Daphne. We are the backbone. Certainly there are others: Marianne 
Gingher, Kirkpatrick, Seay, Bland, Carolyn Kizer, Lee Smith, Harmon, even Betty 
Smith and the great Bill Blackburn. (And even Louis Rubin who after his great 
success with young writers at Algonquin is generously teaching without pay an 
honors seminar once a week. But it is not quite successful in that many of our best 
writers graduate without taking the course.) At least twenty teachers over the thirty 7 
years. Most of them teaching only one section while you, Daphne, and I teach two 
and three. Always you are in on every decision about teaching and teachers. 

Years go by. Students from our program are doing well in graduate 
programs across the country. 

Your students come to us beautifully prepared. They know what a story 
is, how to write dialogue, how to line-edit and cut, how, most important, to read. 
Maybe you are teaching self-discipline without knowing that that is your prime 
subject matter. You stop cold-turkey from two pack of cigarettes a day and claim 
for six months there is not a second when you are not desperate for another. At 
night you dream you're chain-smoking and wake up two or three times dreaming 
you have set the bed on fire. You continue to teach your students with exquisite 
consideration while at any second you may bite your fountain pen in two. 

To women you teach a more subtle lesson: a woman can have everydiing 
and be successful in all areas: mother, wife, writer, teacher, administrator, colleague, 
friend. Perhaps that is a dangerous lesson. Society has not progressed fast enough. 
A promise too early is a big cause of prison riots. 

We love those who help us grow: parents, coaches, teachers. 

Now Jessie Rehder's students are being published and are famous. Russell 
Banks and Lawrence Naumoff in the classes we inherited from Jessie Rehder are 
gaming attention. Soon come the national campus problems of Viet Nam War 
protestors. General madness on the campuses. Our students are not breaking 
plate-glass windows or burning buildings. The revolt here is gentler. One student 
hangs a placard on Davie Poplar that says "Davie Poplar is an oak." There is a 
darker element too. 

The corridor near your office door is crowded with students. You counsel 
now as much as teach. Is there such a thing as professor-client privilege in the 
alarming things they tell us about dope, about shocking affairs? Your Presbyterian 
training guides you. You guide us. 

A graduate student wakes being stabbed with an ice pick. She has been 


editor of the Quarterly, a good student, but after weeks in hospital, she leaves town 
in fear of her life. 

Do you remember late one afternoon, the offices are shutting down and 
you walk by my office and a huge dirty-blond guy who says he wants in the 
program? He is over thirty and not a student and is sitting between me and the 
door asking insinuating questions in a sneering voice. I do not know if you hear 
and I do not want to involve you because I sense danger in him. You pause at the 
door and leave the building. Thirty minutes later I still have not figured how to get 
past him to the door. His silences are malignant. For the rest of my life I will 
know the odor of evil is the rubberv smell of bare feet in dirty sneakers. I have no 
doubt that when he stares at the floor and grins he is seeing there my blood. 
Finally, he mentions beer, and I say, "I'll buy you one" and walk him to the 
Carolina Coffee Shop. There at the door is where the bus stops that will take me 
home. I buy him a pitcher of beer, and he has just drained his first glass when a 
bus arrives. I run out and get on. The phone is ringing when I open the door to 
my house. It is you saying, "Thank God. When vou didn't answer in your office 
or here, I put my pistol in my glove compartment and was just coming to get you." 
Later, reluctantly, you tell me you have good reason to believe he was a suspect in 
the early dawn stabbing of the graduate student. 

Yes, one can teach writing. And one can teach courage, and the meaning 
of friendship. 

Do not let them make an icon of you. 

Now ten years have passed and of course the administration has discovered 
you and you are on every university committee, first as the token woman, for there 
are few to go around in these days, and then as an influential voice and finally as 
a wise force. Later you are Chairman of the Faculty. Years later when I ask you 
what is the honor that has meant most to you, you say "The Tanner Award for 
Excellence in Teaching." And when I ask why, you say "Because it was voted to 
me by the students." 

We have perhaps the best undergraduate program in the country. Our 
former students are being published. Thirty books, forty, fifty. Over a dozen 
publish writers. Many by Rubin at Algonquin. 

Teacher, and yet again, Teacher, I and that is all. . . . 

The hall around your office door remains crowded with students, sitting on 
the floor, waiting to be next. What are you telling them that is so urgent? Surely 
more than the rest of us are teaching. I know you teach grammar as the essential. 
But what else? Now when I need to talk to you I have to go back to my office and 
phone your office. They follow you to your car as they had Jessie Rehder and no 
other. You know the answer they need: self-knowledge is the goal of a liberal arts 

We love those who help us grow: parents, coaches, teachers. 

Over the years you have grown enormously too. So do you love those who 
have taught you? The deans, the provosts, the presidents who have so overworked 


you? Your commencement speech about your own education is classic, with that 
flippant Doris line: "We have seen TV grow from infancy to adultery." Your 
overwork has aged you but not the sparkle. How can you teach as diligendy as ever 
with all the work they have loaded on you? You have learned much but never to 
say "no" to a burden or request. I watch you cross the campus loaded down with 
a stack of work an ambitious dean has given you to be returned overnight. 

The words come to mind: "I have done the State some service and they know it 

How can you have so many burdens in South Building, in Greenlaw, on 
your horse-farm, and still write so many books and so many notes on so many 
manuscripts in that clear, tiny handwriting? What a splendid textbook on fiction 
writing your corrections would make if collected! 

You are all day all over campus, eating crackers for lunch, running between 
meetings and class. So now when I need answers I have to phone you at home. 
Over the years I have heard: "Max, can I call you back? I'm about to lose a mare 
and her unborn colt and my hands are bloody." "Max, his brother has fallen on the 
steps and I think he's broken both arms." "Max, I've just been up to the highway 
and seen where my son went through the back window of the pick-up. I am still 
being sick to my stomach and have got to shower." "Max, I'll call you tomorrow. 
She's turned the refrigerator over. There's mayonnaise and broken glass all over 
the linoleum and she's barefooted." It is no wonder that you refer literature back 
to life and life back to literature and not as the decadent academics do: literature 
back to theory and theory back to literature. With life left out. 

No, they must not make an icon out of you. The world needs a Renais- 
sance woman with real flesh and blood and bones and, above all, guts. 

I do not like to think of all those women who believe it is easy or even 
possible to be like you. Some day there will be a Depression known as The Doris 
Betts Syndrome. Women on Prozac, Women on booze, Women on dope. Maybe 
even Women on bullets, because you have made it look easy and obtainable. What 
an impossible model to copy! Yet I agree: The day will come for their fulfillments. 

Now we are getting one or two books a year from former students. I count 
over seventy, including those published by Rubin at Algonquin. Our under- 
graduate program is recognized as the best in the states. It is secure. But I am 
burning out as a reader and thus as a teacher. It makes me physically sick to pick 
up a stack of manuscripts. I can no longer respond emotionally to words on a 
page. Out of fairness to students I will seek early retirement. How, how do you 
go on with such enthusiasm, such bright-eyed brilliance? How can you bear to 
look at another manuscript? 

Once I derived a plausible theory that you were triplets and that that was 
how you did it all. Dons C, the farm-hand housewife; Dons B, the administrator; 
and, above all, Doris A, the writer-teacher. I begin to believe absolutely in my 
secret explanation. 

At a party one night I divulge this theory to Lowry, and one never knows 


what the Judge thinks. Encouraged by his silence, I ask, "How does it feel to live 
in a house with three attractive women, but to be married to only one of them? 
How do you tell them apart?" And he answers, "That's their problem." 

So now I have retired and years go by in which I never see you. Five years, 
ten. But I hear better and better reports of your writing, your teaching. Will you 
never burn out? And then one mght I break my hermit life to have dinner with a 
thoroughly unassuming, almost humble man and we talk about you and his 
excitement at having met you. I tell him that whatever else, there will never be a 
better teacher. He mentions he would like maybe to give some money to the 
writing program. Then the announcement comes: The man, Ben Jones III, is 
willing to put up a third of the million dollars for a Dons Betts Distinguished 
Professorship in Creating Writing. 

The uncloseted sentimentalist, Betty Smith, has a line in A Tree Grows in 
Brooklyn in which Francie in a moment of joy says, "My Cup runneth over." I feel 
and think that mine does too. Do you remember the day when Miss Cummings 
gave you not one but three stamps? And when you went back the next day she 
asked, "What did you do with all those stamps I gave you yesterday?" A million 

Now you have taught for over thirty years, longer than any other UNC 
creative writing teacher I know, except for that grand and considerate Phillips 
Russell, who began the writing programs on campus in 1934 and taught most 
elegantly, first in the English Department, and then in Journalism until 1968. 

"I have done the State some service and they know it well. . . ." 

We started so simply in 1966 our teaching careers. Your hard work and 
destiny have moved you more and more into a public life. Mine, through inborn 
nature, and my soul's demand, has earned me the right to a more and more private 
life. Sometimes when I think of those days of building up the Creative Writing 
Program and teaching our hearts out, you seem so important and essential and so 
very far away. 

Last mght, by chance, I opened a volume that contained both Out of Africa 
and Shadows in the Grass. Isaac Demsen has gone back to Denmark. Kamante, the 
little native she has found, his legs covered with sores, in the roadside grass near 
her home, has gone down to Nairobi to dictate a note. He has sought out a scribe 
to perform the task of writing a letter to his teacher who has taught him English, 
cooking, dignity, and a way out of miser)'. He dictates to the scribe his letter of 
wonderment and love, and he ends it with the simple words, with which I, too, will 
end my note to you: "May God bless you now and then." 



A. Special Announcement 

[At this point Chancellor Michael Hooker was invited to the podium for 
a special announcement. The chancellor revealed that as a result of a generous 
offer from an admirer of the honoree, a Dons Betts Distinguished Professorship 
in Creating Writing was being proposed. The admirer had offered to give a third 
of die million dollars needed to establish the endowed professorship; another third 
would be raised by a committee headed by William M. Moore, Jr., of Raleigh, and 
the remaining third would be provided from state funds. Chancellor Hooker then 
introduced the admirer, Ben M. Jones III of Hendersonville, North Carolina, and 
Naples, Florida, who recounted diat he had been so impressed by Professor Betts's 
influence as a teacher, writer, and public servant that he wanted to assure the 
continued primacy of the creative writing program by helping to create a position 
that would honor the name of Dons Betts and attract future teachers /writers to 
carry on the Betts tradition at the University. The chancellor thanked Ben Jones 
and then accepted a check for $1,000.00 from the North Caroliniana Society as the 
first contribution in the public drive for matching funds.] 


Presentation of the A.ward 

Willis P. W hie hard, President of the Society 

When in 1991 the Society expressed a desire to acquire a tangible symbol 
of its annual North Caroliniana Society Award (previously the award had been in 
the form of a certificate), it called upon board member John Sanders, whose 
interest in and knowledge of silver is well known. That confidence was not 
misplaced, for John and his wife Ann located and the Society purchased the sterling 
two-handled cup that sits before you. This is not just "another" cup; it already had 
a distinguished history connecting the family of Thomas Jefferson with that of 
Calvin Coolidge. The story, too lengthy to be repeated at this .hour, will be found 
in the Society's annual report for 1990-1991. The trophy was appropriately 
engraved with the wording, "The North Caroliniana Society Award for distin- 
guished contributions to North Carolina history and culture." Then, to provide for 
its proper exhibition in the North Carolina Collection, John and Ann designed and 
arranged for the crafting of a handsome mahogany stand, together with silver plates 
on which the names of recipients are engraved. The entire ensemble graces the 
North Carolina Collection Reading Room. Tonight, however, we are privileged to 
see the cup and its upper base on the table in front of us. 

John and Ann also selected modest sterling tumblers, one of which is 
appropriately engraved and presented to each recipient. The simplicity of the 
tumbler is emblematic of the North Caroliniana Society's dedication to "Substance, 
not Show," the most essential quality that we seek in each year's recipient. 

This year's recipient epitomizes substance over show. Dons, please step 
forward to accept this symbol of the North Caroliniana Society Award and for such 
remarks as you wish to make. 


Acceptance of the Award 

Doris Waugh Betts 

Once when Jack Benny received an award, he responded by saying, "I don't 
deserve this, but then I have arthritis and I don't deserve that, either." 

But this has been a night I'll never forget, undeserved or not. If I were 
standing any taller, my ears would pop. Aristotle said, "Without friends no one 
would choose to live." I would insert "friends and family." 

Lately the media have been firm in their rejection of "recovered memo- 
ries," often dredged up by means of hypnosis, but maybe we parents should 
concentrate on our children's plain memories! Maybe we could hypnotize our 
children to forget . Thank you, Lewellyn, but I hope that D in home economics 
doesn't make these academics rethink the whole thing! 

And it's just like Max Steele, who never wants to be thought of as 
sentimental, to send me a lump in the throat long distance. If it were not for Max, 
I would not be standing here tonight, and if it were not for the example of his 
remarkable teaching, I'd have given up classroom work early. 

And Liz Evans, who learned more about me than she cared to know while 
she was writing her biography for Twayne, has still surprised me with her fresh 
eloquence. She's also a product of the First A.R.P. Church of Statesville, North 
Carolina, and a walking instance of the Protestant work ethic. 

As for the instigation of a Betts Chair in Creative Writing, Chancellor 
Hooker and Ben Jones have simply overwhelmed me. On behalf of future students 
who will benefit, I thank you from the heart. 

I'm touched and grateful for all of tonight's speakers, and also to all of you 
who have come tonight to remind me of how much I owe to how many. 

Those of you who suffered through this afternoon's talk about my love for 
this university already know that the North Carokniana Society Award is especially 
symbolic to this Gemini who just passed one more relentless birthday and who 
next month will be entering phased retirement. 

But my mood — especially after this evening — is of celebration, not 



As Gypsy Rose Lee once said, "I've got everything I had thirty years ago, 
except now it's a lot lower." 

I hope on this new schedule to read more published books in addition to 
student manuscripts; it's hard just to keep up with the outpouring of writing talent 
by friends and neighbors during this renaissance of literary output in North 
Carolina. And I hope to write more fiction myself, and to ignore the smart aleck 
who once said, "I hear you're writing a book — why don't you just buy one; it's 

I'll also keep reading the growing amount of good prose by our own 
creative writing graduates. You know what they say about university graduates: an 
alumnus who got a science degree goes out into the world asking "Why does it 
work?" The engineering major asks "How does it work?" An accounting student 
now out in the world asks "How much will it cost?" But the Carolina grad who 
studied creative writing asks "Do you want fries with that?" 

Producing stories and poems may not be a good way to make a living, but 
it's a wonderful way to make a life. 

In closing I want to thank all of you for reminding me how fortunate I am, 
how blessed by friends and family, how contented by the thirty-two years of doing 
the work that mattered most to me. 

You can picture me later tonight as praying the same prayer as the child 
who knelt to say, "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. 
I'm having a real good time as it is." 

Thank you for this "real good time." 





Paul Green 


Burke Dams 


Albert Coates 


Fawrence F. London 


Sam J. Ervin, Jr. 


Frank H. Kenan 


Sam Ragan 


Charles Kuralt 


Gertrude Sprague Carraway 


North Carolina Collection 


John Fries Blair 


Archie K. Darns 


William C. <&Ida H. Friday 


H. G. Jones 


William S. Powell 


FeRoj T Walker 


Maty D.B.T <& James Semans 


J. Carlyle Sitterson 


David Stick 


Hugh MacRae Morton 


William McW horter Cochrane 


John F. Sanders 


Emma Neal Morrison 


Doris Waugh Betts 



Dons Betts delivered her touching public address, "My Love Affair with Carolina, " before a capacity 
audience. Then at the banquet she listened as Chancellor Michael Hooker (left) introduced Ben M. Jones 
III, who pledged a third of the proposed million-dollar-endowed Dons Betts Distinguished Professorship 
in Creative Writing. (All photos by Fred Stipe and Jerry Cotten unless otherwise indicated.) 



Dons Betts listens to tributes by (left to right, top to bottom) H. G. Jones, Elizabeth Evans, Hewellyn 
Betts, and William Friday (reading a literary valentine from Max Steele); accepts award from President 
Willis Whichard; gives a response; poses with son-in-law Thomas Mro% daughter Hewellyn, and Doris's 
husband, Judge Howry M. Betts; and joins Chancellor Hooker, Ben Jones, and Howry Betts. 



More than 200 friends recognised Doris's distinguished career with their presence at the banquet and 
reception in the Carolina Inn. Among them were (all with Doris) President Molly Broad; Burke Davis 
and daughter Angela Davis -Gardner; Holly Mack Bell; John and Ann Sanders; John Justice; Leslie 
Boney, Jr.; Mary and Harry Gatton; and Judge Dickson Phillips. 



More Friends: Doris Betts and Frances Mason; Anna Hayes Rag/and, Mary Louise Davis, and Betty 
Kenan; Rollie Tillman, Sally Davis, and Archie H. Davis; Betty Kenan and Carmen and Michael 
Hooker; Nancy Lilly and Julia Jones Daniels; Lew and Dannye Romine Powell and Jack Betts; 
Marcella Grendler and Wesley and Carolyn Wallace; Trent and Anna Hayes Ragland. 



And more friends: Nancy Lilly and Georgia Carroll Kyser; Charles Shaffer and Trent Ragland; Milly 
Barranger and Anna Rag/and Hayes; Shelby Stephenson and "Laurence Avery; Mary Louise Dams, 
Betty Kenan, and Carmen Hooker; Amanda Stipe, Gladys Coates, and Fred Stipe; Doris Betts and Bob 
Anthony; and Dons Betts and Florence Peacock. 


Compiled by Elizabeth Evans 

1932 Doris June (Waugh) Betts born 4 June in Iredell County, North 

Carolina, only child of William Elmore and Mary Ellen (Freeze) 

1946-1950 Works part-time on Statesville Daily Record. 
1950 Graduates from Statesville High School. 

1 950-1 953 Enters Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now 

University of North Carolina at Greensboro); leaves without 

finishing a degree. 
1950-1957 Works as stringer for UPI and various North Carolina newspapers. 

1952 Marries Lowry Matthews Betts, a law student, who retires from 
legal career in 1997 as district judge of Chatham and Orange 

1953 Awarded Phi Beta Kappa; wins Mademoiselle College Fiction 
Contest for "Mr. Shawn and Father Scott" (included in Best Short 
Stories of 1953); daughter Doris Lewellyn Betts born; family moves 
to Chapel Hill. 

1 953-1 954 Works part-time on Chapel Hill Weekly. 

1954 Wins UNC-Putnam Booklength Manuscript Prize for The Gentle 
Insurrection and Other Stories; teaches typing for North Carolina 
Highway Patrol; son David Lowry Betts born. 

1955-1957 Works as office manager and secretary-treasurer for Simplified 

Farm Record Book Company (advertising, printing), Chapel Hill. 

1956 Serves as editor of North Carolina Writers News for the North 
Carolina Writers Conference. 

1957 Family moves to Sanford, North Carolina; Lowry Betts joins law 
firm of Pittman and Staton; publishes first novel, Tall Houses in 

1957-1958 Works full-time as feature writer and daily columnist for Sanford 
Daily Herald. 

1958 Wins Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction. 


1958-1959 Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Writing. 

1958-1960 Serves on editorial board of TV. C. Democrat. 

1960 Works as full-time editor, Sanford News-Leader, son Erskine Moore 

Betts born. 

1962-1964 Serves on North Carolina Charter Tercentenary Commission. 

1 964 The Scarlet Thread published. 

1965 Wins Sir Walter Raleigh Award again. 

1 965 The Astronomer and Other Stories published. 

1966-1974 Joins English Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill, as lecturer. 

1970 Creative Writing: The Short Story published (textbook for correspon- 
dence course, Extension Division, University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill). 

1971 Is visiting lecturer in creative writing at Duke University. 

1 972 The River to Pickle Beach published. 

1972-1978 Serves as director of Freshman-Sophomore English, University of 

North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

1 973 Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories is finalist for the National 
Book Award; wins Tanner Award for distinguished undergraduate 
teaching; wins Six Walter Raleigh Award for third time. 

1974 Promoted to associate professor, University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill. 

1975 Receives the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state's 
highest award for literary achievement. 

1975-1976 Named director of North Carolina Fellows Program, University of 

North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
1978 Promoted to professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel 

Hill; named to National Humanities Faculty. 
1978-1980 Serves on Literature Panel, National Endowment for the Arts, 

chair 1979-1980. 
1978-1981 Named assistant dean, Honors Program, University of North 

Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

1980 Named Alumni Distinguished Professor, University of North 
Carolina at Chapel Hill; wins Katherine Carmichael Award for 
teaching; inducted into Order of the Golden Fleece; elected to 
membership in the North Carokniana Society; moved with 
husband to Araby Farm, Pittsboro, North Carolina. 

1981 Heading West published. Violet (film version of "The Ugliest 
Pilgrim") wins Academy award for Best Short Feature; wins Special 
Grand Jury Award, Houston Film Festival. 

1981-1984 Serves on Board of Governors, University of North Carolina Press. 

1982-1985 Elected chair of the faculty, University of North Carolina at Chapel 



1983 Wins John Dos Passos Award; wins Distinguished Service Award 
for Women (Chi Omega). 

1984 Serves as judge for PEN-Faulkner Awards. 

1985 Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stones is included in 3 by 3. 
Masterpieces oj the Southern Gothic. 

1986 Named a Celebrated Teacher by the Association of Departments 
of English, Modern Language Association; Dons Betts Teaching 
Award established by the English Department of the University of 
North Carolina at Chapel Hill; serves as consultant to Southern 
Growth Policies Board and writes report, Halfway Home and a Long 
Way to Go. 

1987 Nominated as candidate for chancellor, University of North 
Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

1988 Serves as consultant to Florida Forestry Commission and writes 
report, Turning Over a New Leaf. 

1988-1989 Named chair, Committee on Athletics and the University, Univer- 

sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

1989 Awarded Medal of Merit in the Short Story, American Academy 
and Institute of Arts and Letters; wins Salem Award for Literary 
Achievement; awarded honorary degree, University of North 
Carolina at Greensboro. 

1991 Wins R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award, North Carolina Literary 
and Historical Association, for literary achievement; wins Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Alumni Award for distinguished teaching. 

1992 Wins John Tyler Caldwell Award, North Carolina Humanities 
Council; named faculty director, University of North Carolina 
Publishing Institute; named to Board of Trustees, Union Theologi- 
cal Seminary, Richmond, Virginia; named to Board of Trustees, 
National Humanities Center; elected to Fellowship of Southern 

1994 Souls Raised from the Dead published; named on New York Times list 
of 20 best books for 1994. 

1995 Wins Southern Book Award, Southern Book Critics Circle. 

1997 Receives Ethel Fortner Writer & Community Service Award from 
St. Andrew's Presbytenan College; Violet, a musical based on "The 
Ugliest Pilgrim," opens in New York and wins eight awards; The 
Sharp Teeth of Love published. 

1998 Receives the North Carolimana Society Award for distinguished 
contributions to die history, literature, and culture of her native 


Selected Bibliography 

(Through mid-1 99S] 

Compiled by Elizabeth Evans 



Tall Houses in Winter. New York: G. P. Putnam's, 1957; London: Cassell, 1959; 

Milan: RizzoLt, 1959; New York: Curtis, 1973. 
The Scarlet Thread. New York: Harper and Row, 1964; New York: Curtis, 1973. 

(Copyright date in the front matter indicates publication in 1964; however, 

on the dust jacket, 0165 indicates that publication was delayed until January 

The River to Pickle Beach. New York: Harper and Row, 1972; New York: Curtis, 

1973; New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. 
Heading West. New York: Knopf, 1981; New York: Signet American Library, 1982; 

New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. 
Souls Raised from the Dead. New York: Knopf, 1994; New York: Scribner Paperback 

Fiction, 1995. 
The Sharp Teeth of Love. New York: Knopf, 1997. 

Short Stones 

The Gentle Insurrection and Other Stories. New York: G. P. Putnam's, 1954; London: 

Gollancz, 1955. 
The Astronomer and Other Stories. New York: Harper and Row, 1965; Baton Rouge: 

Louisiana State University Press, 1996. 
Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories. New York: Harper and Row, 1973; 

Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1985. 


Selected Critical Articles 

"The Arts in Red and Gold." In Nine from North Carolina: An Exhibition of Women 

Artists, 8-10. Washington, DC: National Museum of Women in the Arts, 

"Brief Prose, Long Subjects." South Atlantic Quarterly 72 (1965): 283-295. 
"Confessions of a Literature Panelist." The Culture Post 6 (March- August 1981): 6-9. 
"Daughters, Southerners, and Daisy." In The Female Tradition in Southern Literature, 

edited by Carol S. Manning, 259-276. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 

"The Fiction of Anne Tyler." Southern Quarterly 21, no. 4 (1983): 23-37. 
"The Fingerprints of Style." In Voicelust: Light Contemporary Fiction Writers on Style, 

edited by Allen Wier and Don Hendrie, Jr., 7-22. Lincoln: University of 

Nebraska Press, 1985. (First published in Black Warrior Review 10, no. 1 

[1983]: 171-184.) ' ' 

"Forward" [sic). In New Southern Writing, edited by Moira Crone, l-v. Baltimore: 

Numen, 1980. 
"From the Virgin Mary to Rosacoke." In Critical Essays on Reynolds Price, edited by 

James A. Scruff, 302-311. New York: G. K. Hall, 1998. 
"The Goal of a Realist." In The Store of Joys. Writers Celebrate the North Carolina 

Museum of Art's Fiftieth Anniversary, 93-95. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 

"The House by the River: Ovid Williams Pierce." South Atlantic Quarterly 64 (1965): 

Introduction to Southern Women Writers: The New Generation, edited by Tonette Bond 

Inge, 1-8. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990. 
"Keeping All the Options Open: The Christian Vocation in the Secular Academy." 

Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion 11 (1995): 69-73. 
"Learning to Balance." In Of Fiction and Faith: Twelve American Writers Talk about 

Their Vision and Work, edited by W. Dale Brown, 1-28. Grand Rapids: W. 

B. Eerdmans, 1997. 
"Many Souths and Broadening Scale: A Changing Southern Literature." In The 

Future South: A Historical Perspective for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Joe 

P. Dunn and Howard L. Preston, 158-187. Urbana: University of Illinois 

Press, 1991. 
"Memento Mori." In Things in Heaven and Earth: Exploring the Supernatural, edited 

by Harold Fickett, 185-197. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 1998. 
"The Mothers, Yes; the Feminists, Maybe Not." In Rediscovering Vardis Fisher: 

Centennial Essays, edited by Joseph M. Flora. Forthcoming. 
"Randall Garrett Kenan: Myth & Reality in Tims Creek." In Southern Writers at 

Century's End, edited by Jeffrey J. Folks and James A. Perkins, 9-20. Lexing- 
ton: University Press of Kentucky, 1976. 


"Tyler's Marriages of Opposites." In The Fiction of Anne Tyler, edited by C. Ralph 

Stephens, 1-15. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1990. 
"Undergraduate Creative Writing Courses." ADE Bulletin 79 (Winter 1984): 34-36. 
"Whispering Hope." Images: A Journal of the Arts and Religion 7 (Fall 1994): 80-84. 

Selected Miscellaneous Publications 

"Boiling the Wolfe." North Carolina Education 4, no. 8 (1974): 12-14. 

"Doing Lunch." New Harmony journal 2, no. 1 (28 August 1995): 1-2. 

"Fiction Induction and Deduction." Arts in Society 2, no. 1 (Summer- Fall 1974): 

"The First 'Good Ole Girl.'" Life, March 1990, 126-132. 
Eiteracy Is Everybody's Business: The Power oj the Word, with Robert Donnan. Report 

of the Southern Regional Literacy Commission, Southern Growth Policy 

Board. Research Triangle Park, NC, n.d. 
"My Grandfather Haunts This Farm." Saturday Evening Post, January-February 1977, 

62, 85-86. 
My Love Affair with Carolina. Chapel Hill: North Caroliniana Society, 1998. 
"Slow-Change Artist" [ "Faith and Intellect" address]. HIS: Monthly Maga-^ine jor the 

College Christian 43, no. 7 (1983): 4-6. 
Turning Over a New Eeaf: People and Trees Together, edited by Doris Betts. Tallahassee: 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service Division of 

Forestry, March 1989. 



Kimball, Sue Laslie, and Lynn Veach Sadler, eds. The "Home Truths" of Doris Betts. 
With a bibliography. Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Southern Writers 
Symposium. Favetteville: Methodist College Press, 1992. 

Reisman, Rosemary M, and Christopher }. Canfield. Contemporary Southern Women 
Fiction Writers. An Annotated Bibliography, 57-64. Magill Bibliographies. 
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994. 

Scura, Dorothy M. "Dons Betts." In Fifty Southern Writers after 1900: A Bio- 
Bib liographical Source Book, edited by Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain, 53- 
63. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987. 

Criticism and Interviews 

Alderson, Laura. "An Interview with Dons Betts." Poets and Writers 20, no. 1 
(1992): 36-44. 


Brown, W. Dale. "Interview with Dons Berts." Southern Quarterly 34, no. 2 (1996): 

. "The Big Questions. An Interview with Dons Berts." The Christian 

Century 114 (8 October 1997): 870-875. 
Cockshutt, Rod. "Q&A with Dons Berts." Tar Heel: A Magazine of North Carolina 

(December 1981): 44-49. 
Coleman, John C. "The Scarlet Thread." In Survey of Contemporary Literature, edited 

by Frank N. Magill, 6647-6649. Rev. ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem, 

Evans, Elizabeth. "Negro Characters in the Fiction of Dons Berts." Critique 17, 

no. 2 (1975): 59-76. 
. "The Mandarin and the Lady: Doris Betts's Debt to Amy Lowell." 

Notes on Contemporary Literature 6, no. 4 (1976): 2-5. 
. "Another Mule in the Yard: Dons Betts's Durable Humor." Notes on 

Contemporary Literature 11, no. 2 (1981): 5-6. 
. "Conversations with Dons Betts." South Carolina Remew28, no. 2 (1996): 


. Doris Betts. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1998. 

. "Dons Betts's 'Beasts of the Southern Wild': Miscegenation as Theme; 

Donne and Yeats as Allusive Sources." South Carolina Review, forthcoming. 
. "Interview with Dons Betts." Kalliope. A Journal oj Women's Art, 

Ferguson, Maty Anne. "Dons Betts." In American Women Writers, edited by Lina 

Maimero, 151-152. New York: Ungar, 1979. 
. "Doris Betts, Heading West A Review Essay." Southern Quarterly 21, no. 

2 (1983): 68-76. 
Growing Up Southern: How the South Shapes Its Writers [Interviews], edited by Fred 

Brown and Jeanne McDonald, 97-116. Greenville, SC: Blue Ridge 

Publishers, 1997. 
Harmon, A. G. "A Conversation with Dons Betts." Image: A Journal of the Arts and 

Religion 11 (1995): 51-68. 
Holman, David Manon. "Faith and the Unanswerable Questions: The Fiction of 

Dons Betts." Southern Literary Journal 15, no. 1 (1982): 15-23. 
Howard, Jenmfer. "Dons Betts." Publishers Weekly, 25 April 1994, 42-43. 
"Interview with Dons Betts." StoryQuarterly 1 (1975): 67-72. 
Jones, A. Wesley. "Beasts of the Southern Wild." In Survey of Contemporary Literature, 

edited by Frank N. Magill, 579-583. Rev. ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem, 

Ketchin, Susan. "Dons Betts: Resting on the Bedrock of Original Sin." In The 

Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Literature, 230-259. 

Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994. 
Kimball, Sue Laslie, and Lynn Veach Sadler, eds. The 'Home Truths'" of Doris Betts. 

With a bibliography. Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Southern Writers 


Symposium. Fayetteville: Methodist College Press, 1992. 
Madden, David. "The Astronomer and Other Stories." In Survey of Contemporary 

Literature, edited by Frank N. Magill, 418-423. Rev. ed., Englewood Cliffs, 

NJ: Salem, 1977. 
McFee, Michael. "Reading a Small History in a Universal Light: Dons Betts, Clyde 

Edgerton, and the Triumph of True Regionalism." Pembroke Magazine 23 

(1991): 59-67. 
Moose, Ruth. "Superstition in Dons Betts's New Novel." North Carolina Folklore 

Journal '21 (1973): 61-62. 
Powell, Dannye Romine. Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. 

Photographs by Jill Krementz, 15-31. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 1994. 
Prenshaw, Peggy Whitman. "A Conversation with Seven Fiction Writers." 

Southern Quarterly 29, no. 2 (1991): 69-94. 
Ragan, Sam. "Tribute to Doris Betts." Pembroke Magazine 18 (1986): 275-284. 
Ray, William E. "Doris Betts and the Art and Teaching of Writing." In Man in 7 

Modes, 40-51. Winston-Salem: Southern Humanities Conference Proceed- 
ings, 1977. 
Reynolds, John R., Stephen Harnson, and Walter Quade. "Dons Betts." The Rebel 

[East Carolina University] (1969): 9-12. 
Rogoff, Leonard. "Culture and Its Rightful Heirs: Dons Betts on Higher Educa- 
tion." Spectator, 30 May-5 June 1985, 5-8. 
Ross, Jean. "Interview: Doris Betts." In Contemporary Authors. New Revision 

Series, vol. 9, edited by Ann Evory and Linda Metzger, 51-55. Detroit: 

Gale, 1983. [Ross had earlier interview in Dictionary of Titerary Biography 

Yearbook: 1982, edited by Richard Ziegfield, 219-227. Detroit: Gale, 1983.] 
Scandling, Mark William. "Profiles of Three North Carolina Writers: Dons Betts, 

Lee Smith, Daphne Athas." M.A. thesis, University of North Carolina at 

Chapel Hill, 1979. 
. "Dons Betts: Making a Difference in Many Lives." Carolina Quarterly 32, 

no. 2(1980): 101-108. 
Scura, Dorothy M. "Dons Betts's Nancy Finch: A Heroine for the 1980s." 

Southern Quarterly 22, no. 1 (1983): 3-12. [Reprint in Women Writers of the 

Contemporary South, edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, 135-145. Jackson: 

University Press of Mississippi, 1984. 
. "Doris Betts." In Fifty Southern Writers after 1900: A Bio-Bibliographical 

Source Book, edited by Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain, 53-63. New York: 

Greenwood Press, 1987. 
. "Doris Betts at Mid-Career: Her Voice and Her Art." In Southern Women 

Writers: The New Generation, edited by Tonette Bond Inge, 161-179. 

Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990. 
Simpson, Lewis P. Introduction. 3 by 3: Masterworks of the Southern Gothic, vii-xiv. 

Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1985. 
Southern Writers [Interviews]. Photographs by David G. Spielman; text by William 


W. Starr; foreword by Fred Hobson. Columbia: University of South 

Carolina Press, 1997: 24-25. 
Walsh, William J. Speak So I Shall Know Thee: Interviews with Southern Writers, 40-51 . 

Asheboro, NC: Down Home Press, 1993. [Interview from 1988.] 
Wolfe, George. "The Unique Voice: Doris Betts." In Kite-Flying and Other Irrational 

Acts. Conversations with Twelve Southern Writers, edited by )ohn Carr, 149-173. 

Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972. [Wolfe's interview 

appeared earlier in substantially the same form as "Interviews with Doris 

Betts," Red Clay Reader 1 (1970): 12-17.] 

The North Caroliniana Society, Inc. 

North Carolina Collection 
Wilson Library, UNC Campus Box 3930 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-8890 

Chartered on 11 September 1975 as a private nonprofit corporation under provisions of Chapter 
55A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the North Caroliniana Society is dedicated to the promotion 
of increased knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina's heritage. This it accomplishes in a variety 
of ways: encouragement of scholarly research and writing in and teaching of state and local history; 
publication of documentary materials, including the numbered, limited-edition North Caroliniana Society 
Imprints and North Caroliniana Society Keepsakes; sponsorship of professional and lay conferences, seminars, 
lectures, and exhibitions; commemoration of historic events, including sponsorship of markers and plaques; 
and, especially, through assistance to the North Carolina Collection and North Carolina Collection Gallery 
of the University of North Carolina Library and other cultural organizations with kindred objectives. 

Incorporated by H. G. Jones, William S. Powell, and Louis M. Connor, Jr., who soon were joined 
by a distingushed group of North Carolinians, the Society was limited to one hundred members for the 
first decade. It elects from time to time additional individuals meeting its strict criterion of "adjudged 
performance" in service to their state's culture — i.e., those who have demonstrated a continuing interest 
in and support of the historical, literary, and cultural heritage of North Carolina. The Society, a tax-exempt 
organization under provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, expects service rather 
than dues. For its programs, it depends upon the contributions, bequests, and devises of its members and 
friends. Its IRS number is 56-1 1 19848. Upon request, contributions to the Society may be counted toward 
Chancellor's Club membership. The Society administers a fund, given in 1987 by the Research Triangle 
Foundation in honor of its retiring board chairman and the Society's longtime president, from which more 
than 150 Archie K. Davis Fellowships have been awarded to scholars conducting research in North 
Carolina's historical and cultural resources. 

A highlight of the Society's year is the presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award to 
an individual or organization for long and distinguished service in the encouragement, production, 
enhancement, promotion, and preservation of North Caroliniana. Starting with Paul Green, the Society 
has recognized Tar Heels such as Albert Coates, Sam ]. Ervin,Jr, Sam Ragan, Gertrude S. Carraway, John 
Fries Blair, William and Ida Friday, William S. Powell, Mary and James Semans, David Stick, William M. 
Cochrane, Emma Neal Morrison, Burke Davis, Lawrence F. London, Frank H. Kenan, Charles Kuralt, 
Archie K. Davis, PI. G.Jones, J. Carlyle Sitterson, Leroy T. Walker, Hugh M. Morton, John L. Sanders, 
Doris Betts, and the North Carolina Collection (on its sesquicentennial). 

The Society has its headquarters in the North Carolina Collection, the "Conscience of North 
Carolina," which seeks to preserve for present and future generations all that has been or is published by 
North Carolinians regardless of subject or language and about North Carolina and North Carolinians 
regardless of author or source. In this mission the Collection's clientele is broader than the University 
community; indeed, it is the entire citizenry of North Carolina as well as those outside the state whose 
research extends to North Carolina or North Carolinians. Members of the North Caroliniana Society share 
a very special relationship to this unique Collection that traces its beginnings back to 1844 and stands 
unchallenged as the largest and most comprehensive repository in America ot published materials relating 
to a single state. The North Carolina Collection Gallery, opened in 1988, adds exhibition and interpretive 
dimensions to the Collection's traditional services. These combined resources fulfill the vision of President 
David L. Swain (1801-1868), who founded the Collection; Librarian Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979), who 
nurtured it; and Philanthropist John Sprunt Hill (1869-1961), who generously endowed it. All North 
Carolinians are enriched by this precious legacy. A leaflet on the Collection is available without charge. 


Willis P. Whichard, President 

Archie K. Davis and William C. Friday, Presidents Emeriti 

William S. Powell, \ r ice-Prestdent 

II. G. Jones, Secretary-Treasurer 

H. David Bruton, William McWhorter Cochrane, Betty A. Hodges, Dana Borden Lacy, 

Henry W. Lewis, Nancy Cobb Lilly, W. Trent Ragland, Jr., John L. Sanders, and William D. Snider 

[continued from inside front cover] 

No. 15. A Half 'Century in Coastal 'History (1987) 
by David Stick 

No. 16. Thomas Wolfe at Eighty-seven (1988) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 17. A Third oj a Century in Senate Cloakrooms (1988) 
by William McWhorter Cochrane 

No. 1 8. The Emma Neal Morrison I Know (1989) 
by Ida Howell Friday 

No. 19. Thomas Wolfe's Composition Books (1990) 
edited by Alice R. Cotten 

No. 20. My Father, Burke Davis (1990) 
by Angela Davis-Gardner 

No. 21. A Half Century with Rare Books (1991) 
by Lawrence F. London 

No. 22. Frank H. Kenan: An Appreciation (1992) 
edited by Archie K. Davis 

No. 23. Growing Up in North Carolina, by Charles Kuralt, and 
The Uncommon Laureate, by Wallace H. Kuralt (1993) 

No. 24. Chancellors Extraordinary: ]. Carlyle Sitterson and LeRoy T. Walker (1995) 
by William C. Friday and Willis P. Whichard 

No. 25. Historical Consciousness in the Early Republic (1995) 
edited by H. G. Jones 

No. 26. Sixty Years with a Camera (1996) 
by Hugh M. Morton 

No. 27. William Gaston as a Public Man (1997) 
by John L. Sanders 

No. 28. William P. Gumming and the Study of Cartography (1998) 
edited by Robert Cumming 

No. 29. My Love Affair with Carolina (1998) 
by Dons Waugh Betts 

For availability of particular numbers, contact the Secretary 

Bindery, Inc. 

MAR. 1999